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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. In Switzerland tipping is not as habitual, and it is not part of their culture. This can leave some travelers confused. In Switzerland, tipping is a kind gesture and appropriate in some situations, but never expected. If you are truly impressed by the service, you are welcome to tip and most often it is much appreciated and well received.

This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Swiss Franc (CHF)?

The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc, written CHF. Switzerland does not have the Euro! You will need to use the Swiss Franc while in Switzerland as a vast majority of stores, restaurants and other businesses in Switzerland do not accept any other currency than the Franc.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

There is no obligation to tip anybody in restaurants, cafes, and bars. A service charge is typically added into your bill at restaurants in Switzerland. If this is the case, you do not need to leave an additional tip. Waiters in Switzerland are paid a decent salary and do not depend on tips for their livelihood. If you are exceptionally happy with your service, you can round the bill to the nearest franc. If the service is lousy, don`t leave a tip at all. Eating out in Switzerland can prove to be expensive when compared with surrounding countries; therefore, this ought to be taken into consideration when thinking about tipping etiquette in Switzerland.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping in hotels in Switzerland is usually expected. You should give around 1-2 CHF for each bag that the bellman carries. If you take a hotel shuttle, you should give the driver a small tip, about 1 CHF. Also, you should tip the maid around 1 CHF a day and if it is a resort hotel, you may want to leave a little more.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Tipping cab drivers is unusual and never expected in Switzerland. However, if the taxi driver was particularly helpful tipping etiquette dictates that you should round up or add 5% to the nearest franc and let the taxi driver keep the change.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping tour guides is not expected in Switzerland as most tours include a service charge. However, if you had an exceptional experience and felt you wanted to express your appreciation to your tour guide, you can tip him or her around 10 - 15% of the cost of the tour. If you don`t want to tip them that much, then tip them between 1 - 5 CHF. Again, it is not expected, but always much appreciated when you do.

Final Thoughts:

Remember it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. Unlike in the US, waiters, tour guides, hotel staff, etc. are paid a decent wage, and tipping is not the standard practice.